By now many of our San Jose readers have probably heard about the horrific accident that occurred on January 17 involving a teenage girl and a light-rail train. The teenage girl, a 14-year-old who was riding her bike on that morning, was struck by the train. She was left with serious injuries and died later that day. It appears that the girl may have been riding her bike to school when she was struck, as the accident occurred at about 7:30 a.m. that morning.
Any accident that involves a pedestrian or a cyclist is almost always assured to include a catastrophic or serious injury. This is because these collisions often involve a larger vehicle, like a truck or car, and a pedestrian or cyclist has next to no protection in such a crash.
There were few immediate details available about how this accident occurred. However, an investigation to be conducted by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department was announced shortly after the accident. The train was impounded and the operator was ordered to submit to a drug screen.
Finding out how this accident occurred could have a major impact on whether or not a lawsuit will be filed. If the teenage girl was blameless, her family could file a wrongful death lawsuit against several parties, including the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. However, no such lawsuit would likely result if the investigation reveals that the girl was negligent in some way, such as by attempting to ride too closely to the train. In cases like this, every little detail will be important, and the results of the investigation will probably play a large role in the ultimate outcome.
Source: San Jose Mercury News, "San Jose: Bicyclist, 14, dies after being struck by light-rail train," Brandon Bailey, Jan. 17, 2014
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